An arbitration clause contained in a shareholders’ agreement provided at the same time for ICC arbitration and, if the parties were not able to agree upon the sole arbitrator, for a 3-arbitrators tribunal, one of whom was to act as an umpire [in arbitration doctrine, an umpire is not a member of the panel; he/she remains passive unless the two party-appointed arbitrators disagree on a joint award]. After a dispute arose, the parties nominated their arbitrators, who nominated in their turn the president of the tribunal in accordance with the ICC Rules. The plaintiffs challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction on the ground that the president was not an umpire.
The Court noticed that the parties did not explain what the role of umpire consisted of. The Singapore International Arbitration Act did not contain any default provision on the role of umpire either. This finding, coupled with the express reference to the ICC Rules, made valid the constitution of the 3-members tribunal with a president.